God has me on a path of unclarity lately. Usually I have some sort of idea where I’m headed; perhaps not the whole portrait being revealed, but certainly at least a birds-eye view of the direction I’m going. During this season, it’s as if I’m wearing blinders, earplugs, and beling led by a carousel horse, round and round and round. Thankfully I have Him as my Foundation, the one thing that regardless if my horse jumps his rails, I can count on a landing.
So I’m working this job – not something I would have predicted if you’d asksed me a year ago, but a job nonetheless and I am appreciative. It’s retail, and I do come from 10 years of retail experience B.C. (before children…lol!), but that’s practically antique in the work world these days. Because of my experience, I was hired as a supervisor, which as you can imagine, didn’t go over well with some existing employees, whose average age hovers near 20 (mine is significantly higher than 20, if you recall…actually, I could be the parent to MANY of the employees at my job…oy vey!)
So I’ve been there over 6 months now, and each week has it’s ups and downs, be it customers and trying to stay one step ahead with lines they think are a bit too long, coupons that don’t scan correctly, Senior Discount Day (Lord, give me strength!!) or a lack of baggers OR employees and their drama, manufactured or real, bathroom requests every 10 minutes, dress code violations, or disappearing acts. One thing that seems constant, regardless of the day, however, is my struggle to find my niche. I am a recently divorced single mother of 3 teenagers, a Christian, a no-nonsense, no-drama Mama thrust into this environment that still, after 6 months, I find difficult to navigate on any given day. I am paid by the hour, and luckily, so is my therapist.
Most recently I’ve found myself the ‘subject’ of a few complaints by my fellow supervisors – 3 to be exact – that my response to the employees is ‘too slow,’ basically implying that I stand around during my shift and let them do all the work. I might be short and old, but I am a worker – that is absolutely something I have observed about my generation versus this one…the value of a work ethic and the lack of one. I know what an honest day’s work looks like, and I also know what honesty is. I don’t punch in and then put my things away; I don’t buy my food for break while I’m on the clock; I don’t wait by the timeclock for the hour to come to punch out; I punch in, work, punch out, go home…fairly simple.
So after these ‘complaints’ were brought to my attention, of course I was hurt…I am a human, too. I get hurt when people don’t see the ‘real’ me – my heart – the person who though tough as nails, cries at commercials, and smiles at babies, and loves little old people and would give you every single thing I had…because you needed it. I feel that is who Jesus wants me to be, and I try my best.
So the ‘hurt’ me decided that I was just not going to trust anyone at work anymore…that would show them, whomever they were. So I plugged along my day, not my normal jovial self…and the cashiers noticed. The ones who cared asked what was wrong – I of course dismissed it as nothing and went about my newfound mission – do not get hurt again. But instead, I started to get annoyed. See, the cashiers are supposed to turn on their blinking lights when they need a supervisor, but many have gotten into this habit of yelling for me instead of using their light…and then there’s 2 yelling, then 3…then I’m losing it because I hear my name from every direction.
So I’m casually reminding them to use their lights and not to yell for me – this also gives the other supervisors – the ‘SUPER’ supervisors – the opportunity, to help them, instead of singling out me. After all, I’m a slug, remember?
And this works for a little while…they stop yelling for me and start using their lights…but only for a little while. And then as I”m standing on the front line, I hear my name again, but my attitude has changed. They, the cashiers, aren’t calling me to make work for me. They call my name because they count on me. They call my name because they trust I can help them. They aren’t calling another name – they are calling my name. And I respond, and I meet their needs, and help their customers and things move along as they should.
And though I have no idea what the motivations of those 3 supervisors was when they complained to my manager, what their hope was to accomplish – they did not succeed in crushing me. I was called by name – by my cashiers, and by my Savior…and until I am no longer called, I will be on the front line. Count on it.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God…” -Isaiah 43:2